Francesco Ferraro is a talented producer born in Santa Barbara, California, and currently based in Italy. The approach with the world of production began around 2004 using a simple homework setup. During the last years, he has been focusing his interest in picking up some minimal/tech drops and techno milestones for releasing them in the most groundbreaking labels on the scene.
Positive feedbacks also acting as a remixer, building an ever-growing reputation as a true artist fully addicted and determined to transform the freshest and darkest cuts from a global repertoire of artists in the business in something completely insane for the underground club culture.
Popularity has been reached by his VΛNITY CRIME side-project reflecting and expressing all the influences based on the pure old-school techno movement experienced through the years, and especially from all the important artists that left a sign of it in the worldwide scene. So far, this brought him to be a special guest of gigs for the most incredible destinations around the world as WMC Miami, Techno Tuesday @ Melkweg in Amsterdam, and mostly in Australia.
We caught up with Francesco Ferraro to talk about his current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Francesco, thanks for chatting with us. Where are you right now and what are you up to?
Francesco Ferraro: Hola, EG team! Thanks to everyone for the chance. I haven’t done an interview for a while. It’s a good feel and I have a lot of things to tell. At the moment, I’m in my first studio based in Calabria precisely Southern tip of Italy, enjoying freshness, sun, beaches and my beloved family. Daily I’m spending a couple of hours in the studio on top of my unfinished tunes. Shortly beginning August, I will travel around Ukraine to spend time with my girlfriend so I will have a short break from the music business side. Of course, I won’t separate from my babies, AKAI MPC and Macbook Pro. Hopefully as soon in the US things will be back to normal, I will get back on my habitat. Missing the Miami vibes!
EG: We are living in some crazy times. How have your last month’s been and how did you cope with the lockdown and everything related to the COVID-19 virus?
Francesco Ferraro: Have been really crazy unexpected times. So now, it’s the right time to tell you my story. As many of the readers and colleagues already know, in real life I’m not only a pro-active DJ and producer with established goals. Most southern Italian men especially from Naples, Calabria, and Sicily in their childhood maturate the vocation of getting involved in the maritime world tradition. I’m a certified Captain since 2015 and besides the music production, I been working as Navigational Deck Officer on 5 stars cruise ships since 2010. During the first stages of alarmism that preceded the COVID-19 breakdown, I was on duty on my ship sailing around the Pacific Ocean. Long-story-short in March, the cruise company decided to take a break in cruise bookings, so I stayed 6 months onboard until my repatriation at the beginning of this month. Luckily, this permitted me to focus a lot on my mental/physical health, and especially music. Strongly I had to keep my spirit positive with perseverance and discipline. Daily workout and short but concentrated Ableton sessions saved me from this awkward situation, especially meanwhile in Italy and US things were and still getting worst.
EG: You’ve had a very successful career with a plethora of releases on many imprints, and as excepted, 2020 has been no different with your latest release on AREA 94. What can you tell us about this last release in terms of production and inspiration?
Francesco Ferraro: Oh yes! ‘Florida Blanca’ is the third follow up from previously released ‘Miraflores’ and ‘Canto De Medellín’. A trilogy let’s say, that has the same common source of inspiration. The esthetic of the track itself contains particles of traditional Colombian treasure chants during the breakdown restarts with a peak driving house groove that accompanies the vocals all over the track length.
‘Florida Blanca’ was released on Federico Scavo’s label AREA 94 Records. He is one of my favorite producers and deejays so far since he was producing as Miniking in the early years, releasing on the same imprint NO-LOGIK back in 2010, and that was the first time I’ve heard something from him. About AREA 94, I follow this label for 4-5 years, and when it was born I was still producing minimal and tech, so I was out of range.
Once I presented them the track, they immediately loved it. Has been a good experiment for me to deviate from usual music canons. Federico is supporting the track all over the place, and I’m gonna meet him as coming to play in Calabria for a gig. I wanted to present different vibes in the project and thought it was interesting to propose something a bit different, than what usually do.
As I mentioned already, the trilogy is born from the collection of elements of cultures that I had the pleasure to experience, meet and visit around the world. Of course, from work and pleasure, I make a treasure 😉 From the wide choice the world has to offer to us.
During my childhood, I listened to a lot of hip-hop, blues, old school jazz, and disco soul. Lately, I am really into afro house, popular music, and chill house classics. A lot of inspiration for my tracks are from amazing techniques of artists such as MURK, Arthur Baker, Kerri Chandler, Basement Jaxx, The Scumfrog, Harry Romero, Eddie Amador, Joeski, Sharam Jey, Waze & Odyssey, just to name a few!
” I’ve been always a self-thought studio producer”
Electronic Groove: Do you have any more material coming out this summer as well as the rest of the year?
Francesco Ferraro: A lot of material I don’t know where to start from… For example, the mixtape below has been recorded live during one of my studio sessions. I tested a few promos and unreleased stuff exclusively for you. The EG Spotlight mix is a great result for me!
For the rest, I signed a few important releases not only as Francesco Ferraro (my main project) but also with my brands Houseswingers, Di Saronno, Mindbuster more on the disco-funk and club-house side. ‘Shout Yourself Out Loud’ with young talented Adrian Egd will land on Ocean Trax on next September. Announcing here my exclusive collaboration with the Grammy awarded house legend Eddie Amador that will drop in October on Italy’s Klaphouse Records.
Plus giant progress on my next follow up track with iconic Colombian chants from Martina Camargo that I’m really excited to push with some huge imprint Houseswingers will land on Launch Entertainment (a new platform run by the historical Strictly Rhythm A&R Gladys Pizarro who I was in touch all the time during lockdown, very professional, supportive and sweet person).
Di Saronno instead of the trustworthy collaboration of the ‘Gangs Of Naples’ we have some special cuts on DJ Dan’s InStereo Recordings, and also we are excited to be included on the next Mihalis Safras’ Material Series. An unexpected bootleg circulating around and doing pretty well is the one for the radio hit! ‘Jerusalema’ together with Glasgow based James Stark. Plus countless remixes in progress for heavyweights like Gene Farris, Erick Morillo, DJ Sneak, Oscar G, Alex Young, Sugar Shake, and more.
Electronic Groove: It looks like in some parts of the world the new normal is starting to come together. Where would it be your favorite place to play?
Francesco Ferraro: Exactly, I see many open-air events in my area. Let’s say that I’m surprised how things developed positively around Italy (especially in the South). But, underestimation of the situation could bring bad surprises, like the “Serbian” model. And that’s why I had to postpone my gig at Kulturni Center-Lab in Novi-Sad (Serbia) that was supposed to be on 26th July, and so due to the new safety dispositions, the country closed the barriers. Hopefully, things will improve worldwide, and the vaccination tests are giving good results. Serbia is one of my favorite places to play, very warm hospitality, loud energy, and contagious positivity. Amsterdam as well represents the kingdom of artist and deejays, so I expect the ADE even with restrictions will prepare us some surprises. South America, Thailand, and Japan are in my gig-bucket list (not travel list, because I already been around the world with my ships).
Electronic Groove: What do you enjoy more, studio time, or DJing? And why?
Francesco Ferraro: I’ve been always a self-thought studio producer, especially in my small hometown in the South of Italy, where I rarely had a chance to compare myself with other producers, not a common “thing” to make beats digitally or digging into sounds to sample, and that’s why I have been mostly alienated for this. I started to appreciate more these emotions that studio sessions give especially when collaborating with other artists outside the country. You get to know them deeply during this occasion, inside and outside the studio, so once you start to build up something new, every change of mood or expression is natural, from this you understand that once you will test the track in a club the reaction of the crowd will be multiplied to that.
Djing at some really serious promoters, festivals, events outside Italy and especially away from the south, couldn’t be the best way to debut, to emerge from the abyss and to represent the humility that I have shown in the past 15 years of solo-DJ-producer without recommendation from anybody with “tentacles” in the scene. Nothing against my roots, but the club culture resources I experienced in South Italy need to take an example from the rest of the world, highlighting the art and not to prioritize what’s hot in the actual trend. Innovation is the key. Since I moved to Florida, USA I boosted up my auto-confidence that helped me to rise and receive the respect that I deserved from a while.
Electronic Groove: With so many years of experience. How do you see the business side of music coming together with all that’s happening?
Francesco Ferraro: Experience makes your eyes wide open through the years, and does let you identify with a series of small moves that can lead you up to wide horizons. From the business side, not all of us can survive only doing music, that’s why I have a side job on the ships, that also finance me to accomplish my goals in this world, and music that’s my main passion ever and ever, since childhood. Could not be one without the other, and even if I have been criticized for it, I’m still proud to put it on the line.
Electronic Groove: There are plenty of DJs that are suffering from the halt of live events and clubs shutting down? What do you think they should do to keep relevant and to keep inspired?
Francesco Ferraro: Have been hard times for everyone, not only for the live events but also because of the demotivation that this situation left inside every single artist, musician, and DJ out there. We are not all the same, diversity of lifestyle: someone could take it positively to make a bunch of music, spend closer time with family and kids or learn new activities that are related at all with music, and I know a lot of people who doesn’t find himself in this personality and may disagree, loneliness can inflict serious damages on physical and emotional health.
Electronic Groove: Following on the last question. Do you think live streams are good or bad?
Francesco Ferraro: People who do live streams for a large audience have every incentive to make their content as attention-getting as possible to stand out from the crowd and gain more followers. In any case: the fact of using socials to promote yourself and your music is something that works, because yes, objectively it is something capable of changing the balance and creating out of nothing real phenomena. Honestly by my choice … I haven’t seen it very well, exploited a lot also for very stupid moves, and to echo false myths. (Sorry if I have been rough and direct on this!)
“Experience makes your eyes wide
open through the years”
Electronic Groove: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Francesco Ferraro: Good Question! As I previously mentioned I’m going to spend some well deserved time on “mainland” rather than “at sea”, to appreciate every simple thing the world has to offer. This is a reflection that I maturated during the time spent without touching the land on board my ship. Gigs will come by sooner than later, and once I will be back at sea in 2021, will be a new chapter to write.
Electronic Groove: Many thanks and stay safe!
Francesco Ferraro: Muchas gracias por el espacio y esta gran entrevista, le deseo todo lo mejor. Peace out and safety first!
Francesco Ferraro’s ‘Florida Blanca’ is now available via Area 94 Records. Stream and buy here.